Spokane's defense, after a shaky start, has been stellar the last six games. Read more below.
By Jim Meehan
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Two weeks ago,
After six games,
“We’re really limiting teams from taking that home run shot on us,” defensive coordinator Alex Sirianni said. “Live to fight another play is kind of our motto. You need a consistent pass rush to do that so they can’t sit back there and go deep on you. Our defensive backs have bought into that, keeping people in front of you.”
That reflects an adjustment in
“I’ve been on teams where coaches forced players into something they weren’t,” head coach Rob Keefe said. “Our guys are really good off the ball. We still mix in press (coverage), but if you can find a guy that’s good at that constantly, he’s in the NFL or the CFL.
“We took a step back after the (72-68) loss to
“We’ve adjusted,” said Sirianni, whose defense gets another crack at
The defense is still forcing turnovers.
“We went to a defensive meeting (Tuesday) and coach was saying before the season we didn’t know our identity,” defensive back Travis Williams said. “We were kind of a press team, but it’s kind of hard in this game to press a guy that’s running full speed at you. I just think we’re coming along, knowing how each other plays.”
Keefe said he’ll know more about the severity of defensive end Ben McCombs’ knee injury later in the week, but McCombs isn’t expected to play against
“I’m a really positive person,” Keefe said, “but it looked kind of harsh when he went down.”
Jeremy Geathers will probably replace McCombs in the lineup.
Keefe didn’t have an update on receiver Raul Vijil, who went on injured-reserve last week with an MCL injury. Vijil is in a knee brace and walking with a noticeable limp. Quorey Payne, one of the players who filled in for Vijil, was wearing a boot on his right foot at Tuesday’s practice. His toe was stepped on during the game, but Keefe expects he’ll be able to play this week.
Receiver Greg Orton, who signed last week, also could emerge as an option. He was one of the last cuts in Shock training camp.
Markee White (shoulder) is running routes, but at least a week away from returning. The target date for center Antonio Narcisse’s return is the first round of the playoffs.
Defensive back Rod Mosley was activated from injured-reserve and released. Mervin Brookins, who performed well in his Shock debut Friday, will be the fourth defensive back. Brookins replaced William Mulder, who was sick. … The Shock’s 37 points was the lowest winning total in the franchise’s five years. They have been held under 37 points four times (20 in a 2006 game; 28, 34, 35 in ’07).